Date: 05 Oct 2012

1H NMR analysis of choline metabolites in fine-needle-aspirate biopsies of breast cancer

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The relative amounts of choline (Cho), phosphocholine (PC), and glycerophosphocholine (GPC) may be sensitive indicators of breast cancer and the degree of malignancy. Here we implement some simple modifications to a previously developed 1H NMR analysis of fine-needle-aspirate (FNA) biopsies designed to yield sufficient spectral resolution of Cho, PC, and GPC for usable relative quantitation of these metabolites.

Materials and methods

FNA biopsies of eighteen breast lesions were examined using our modified procedure for direct 1H NMR at 400 MHz. Resonances of choline metabolites and potential interferences were fit using the computer program NUTS.


Quantitation of PC, GPC, and Cho relative to each other and to (phospho)creatine was obtained for eleven confirmed cases of infiltrating ductal carcinoma. Reliable results could not be obtained for the remaining cases primarily due to interference from lidocaine anesthetic.


Some simple modifications of a previously developed 1H NMR analysis of FNAs yielded sufficient spectral resolution of Cho, PC, and GPC to permit usable relative quantitation at 400 MHz. In 9 of the 11 quantified cases the sum of GPC and Cho exceeded 42 % of the total choline-metabolite peak area.